Preface: We are to be instruments in His hands. God would gladly heal everyone who is sick, but He is interested in a more substantial, lasting healing.
Step one: Just ask! Have you ever needed something and felt very disappointed when you didn’t get it? Did you feel even worse when your best friend finally guessed your need and helped you out in a matter of minutes? Will you ever forget the look on his face as he asked you, Why didn’t you say something?
Indeed, why not? Luke 11:10 says: “ ‘Everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened’ ” (NIV). Logical, isn’t it? Unless you ask, you are unlikely to get an answer. You need to come to God in prayer and speak to Him. Tell Him your needs, concerns, joys, and sadnesses. He is our Friend and wants to share in all those. He’s also promised an abundance of blessings to those who ask (verse 13).
Step two: Be persistent! Jesus actually invites us to nag Him! As humans we will often deal with persistent people just to get them off our backs. In Luke 18 He tells a story of a widow who persistently asks a judge for justice. Eventually the judge says, “Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” (verse 5, NIV). But Jesus continues, “ ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (verses 6–8, NIV).
Don’t pray about something once and then feel uncomfortable bringing it up with God again. Jesus invites you to pray continually; your pleas will not go unheard.
Step three: Believe! Jesus said, “ ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’ ” (5:20, NIV). Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus placed a lot of emphasis on faith. It is no different today. When you pray, don’t make it just a daily protocol. Listen to what you are saying, mean it when you say Thanks for your food, and believe that when you ask God for your next meal, you will receive it. Never forget that Jesus is our Friend, but He’s also God, and He’s looking after His own! With Him we can allow our faith to stretch far beyond our next meal. The NIV translates Luke 11:8, “Because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs” Even when you’re bold or downright cheeky in your request, remember that, “[you] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [you]” (Phil. 4:13, NKJV).
1. How can one turn prayer from a daily protocol into a meaningful daily conversation with a good friend? Be specific.
2. What are some ways to remember God in times of trial?
3. In Job’s story, how do you feel about the concept that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle?